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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

 2:06 PM 

Kaufert has concerns about DUI reform costs

Rep. Dean Kaufert, R-Neenah, said that the funding mechanism for the drunken driving reforms poses a problem because it relies on offenders ability to pay fines.

He said the fine amounts are too high in some cases, and he is "worried we're not going to see the financial impact to pay those costs" of the program.

Funding for the bill was the cause of the delay in getting it passed through both houses of the Legislature. A Senate committee proposed raising the liquor tax to pay for treatment and incarceration costs associated with the program, but that idea did not gain favor in the Assembly. The bill authors, Rep. Tony Staskunas of West Allis and Sen. Jim Sullivan of Wauwatosa, eventually negotiated a compromise that raised fees on drunken driving and other unrelated offenses to pay for the reforms.
Kaufert said he does support increasing fines for repeat offenders, but he thinks many offenders simply won't pay them.

"We're going to be back here down the road on how to pay for this," he warned.

Rep. Pedro Colón, D-Milwaukee, countered Kaufert by saying that this bill is not unlike any other that comes before the Assembly.

"You have a 'yes' button and you have a 'no' button. Use it," Colon advised.


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